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The Military History and Coastal Forts of Georgia’s Savannah

In Architecture, History, Travel
Mart 18, 2024

The Military History and Coastal Forts of Georgia’s Savannah

Georgia’s historic city of Savannah is not only known for its charming architecture and southern hospitality, but also for its rich military history dating back to the colonial era. Throughout the centuries, Savannah has been a strategic coastal city that played a significant role in various military conflicts, leading to the construction of several well-preserved coastal forts that still stand today as a testament to the city’s military past.

Colonial Era

During the colonial era, Savannah was a hotbed of military activity due to its prime location on the coast and its importance as a key port city. In the early 18th century, the British established a fortification known as Fort James to defend the city from potential attacks by the Spanish and French. This fort was later replaced by Fort Oglethorpe, which served as a crucial defensive stronghold during the Revolutionary War.

Revolutionary War

During the Revolutionary War, Savannah became a focal point of conflict between the British and American forces. In 1778, British troops captured the city and established Fort Savannah to solidify their control over the region. The American forces, led by General George Washington, attempted to reclaim the city in a failed siege known as the Battle of Savannah.

War of 1812

In the early 19th century, Savannah’s coastal forts played a critical role in the War of 1812, a conflict between the United States and Britain. Fort Jackson, located on the Savannah River, served as a key defensive position during this time, guarding the city from potential naval invasions. The fort played a crucial role in repelling British forces during the war, solidifying its place in Savannah’s military history.

Coastal Forts of Savannah

Today, visitors to Savannah can explore several well-preserved coastal forts that offer a glimpse into the city’s military past. These forts have been restored and maintained over the years, allowing visitors to step back in time and learn about Savannah’s role in various military conflicts.

Fort Pulaski

One of the most iconic coastal forts in Savannah is Fort Pulaski, located on Cockspur Island near the mouth of the Savannah River. Built in the mid-19th century, this brick fort was constructed to defend the city of Savannah from naval attacks. The fort saw significant action during the Civil War when it was bombarded by Union forces in 1862, leading to its surrender to the Union army.

Fort Jackson

Another prominent coastal fort in Savannah is Fort Jackson, located on the Savannah River just downstream from the city. This fort played a vital role in the defense of Savannah during the War of 1812 and later served as a Confederate stronghold during the Civil War. Today, Fort Jackson is open to visitors who can explore its historic grounds and learn about its military significance.


Georgia’s Savannah is not only a picturesque southern city but also a treasure trove of military history and well-preserved coastal forts. From the colonial era to the Civil War, Savannah’s forts have stood as guardians of the city, protecting it from threats both foreign and domestic. Visitors to Savannah can explore these historic forts and gain a deeper understanding of the city’s military past, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.